TIME: Saturday, 11:00 p.m. (CST)
SITE: W. Lafayette, Ind.
STADIUM: Ross-Ade Stadium
SERIES: Minnesota leads the series with a 33-31-3 record. The two teams met last season on October 16 when the Boilermakers beat the Gophers, 28-17, at Ross-Ade Stadium.
RECORD: Minnesota (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten), Purdue (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
"I think they're a very dangerous football team. I know what their head coach is all about. He's an outstanding football coach. He hangs his hat on all the right things that make a difference to your football team and your football program." – Purdue head coach Danny Hope on the Minnesota as a team.
"I think there is a guy that everybody knows, Murray Warmath would say, ‘If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.' So he's a guy that's a legend to pretty much tell you how I feel about things." – Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill
KEYS TO THE GAME:
-- On defense, the Gophers will have to be ready for Purdue's balanced offensive style—especially the potent rushing attack. The Boilermakers rank No. 19 nationally in rushing offense, averaging 215 yards per game. The Gophers' rank No. 70 nationally in rush defense so Minnesota will have play well to slow the throng of Purdue rushers. The Boilermakers have six players on their roster who have rushed for at least 50 yards on the season.
-- The Purdue Boilermakers boast a balanced offense that is currently ranked fourth in the Big Ten in total offense with over 420 yards per game. While the Boilermaker ground attack has been impressive through four games, they will likely look to go to the air against the Gophers. Minnesota ranks last the Big Ten in pass defense, giving up over 260 yards per contest. With starting cornerback Troy Stoudermire sidelined with an arm injury, Purdue will look to exploit the Gophers' secondary. Establishing a passing game early could lead to a lot of points by the Boilermaker offense.
-- Defensively, Purdue likely won't know which Minnesota quarterback they will line up against until game time on Saturday. One thing they will be able to prepare for is the Gopher rushing attack. Neither MarQueis Gray nor Max Shortell has had much luck throwing the ball this season. Because of this, the deep Minnesota backfield will look to establish a running attack. If Purdue can stack the box and force the Gopher offense to win throwing the ball, the Boilermakers will be able to improve to 3-2 on Saturday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
-- RB David Cobb #27 – The true freshman got his first extended playing time against Michigan and wound up the leading rusher for the Gophers in the game. Cobb carried the ball eight times for 54 yards including a 29-yard run. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder also fumbled once but head coach Jerry Kill was pleased with the freshman's performance. "I thought David made some yards after contact. He did some good things," Kill said."
-- WR Devin Crawford-Tufts #80 – Like Cobb, the true freshman wide receiver got substantial playing time against the Wolverines and showed an eagerness to make plays for the Gophers' offense. Crawford-Tufts only had two receptions for 15 yards on the day but he impressed Kill with his toughness. Minnesota needs another weapon in the passing game and the speedy freshman may be the answer.
-- DT Brandon Kirksey #96 – The senior defensive tackle may not be filling up the stat sheet every week, but according to Kill, Kirksey is playing better than he has ever played. Kirksey will need to be active and disruptive on Saturday if the Gophers want to slow the nations No. 19-ranked rushing attack.
-- WR Antavian Edison #13 – One offensive playmaker to keep an eye for Purdue is junior wide receiver Antavian Edison. Edison is currently on a 12-game reception streak and had a dominant performance last week against Notre Dame where he hauled in seven catches for 105 yards.
-- RB Ralph Bolden #23 – Another offensive weapon for the Boilermakers is running back Ralph Bolden. The junior running back did not play last season due to injury but was a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2009. Bolden has racked up 240 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries this season.
-- DT Kawann Short #93 – One player who has been filling up the stat sheet on defense for Purdue is defensive tackle Kawann Short. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior is a beast on the inside. This season, he has 20 total tackles, 3.5 for a loss, .5 sacks, two blocked kicks, one forced fumble, and one pass breakup. The inconsistency of the Gophers' interior offensive line could provide openings on Saturday for Short.
Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill has announced the following players will not play Saturday at Purdue, due to injury:
--Brendan Beal – knee
--Josh Campion – head
--Jimmy Gjere – head
--Harold Legania – foot
--Zach Mottla – head
--Leston Simpson – head
--Troy Stoudermire – arm